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Having the LAST LAUGH

Told she would never make it and always exist in the shadow of her iconic mother, Tracee Ellis Ross, thankfully, didn’t listen. Now she’s a Golden Globe-winning actress with her own beauty line. Sophie Heawood meets her

Tracee Ellis Ross remembers the exact moment when her dream of being an actress died a thousand deaths. She was in her 20s and had been auditioning and auditioning, filling up a bulging ring-binder with all the roles she hadn’t got.

She had tried acting classes in her native New York, tried to develop a dazzling personality, and crucially, she had tried getting an agent — who was now standing in front of her, saying that none of it had worked so she was being dropped.

‘She brought me into her office,’ recalls Ross, ‘and said, “You come with all these things. You’re pretty, you have style, your mom is Diana Ross — and then you get into a room and nothing happens. You just don’t pop.” I’m not joking, I felt like she had taken my heart out of my chest. She was in an office chair with wheels and I felt like I could see my heart underneath it, and she was moving around and it was getting more and more caught in the wheel and there was just blood everywhere. I couldn’t get out of the room fast enough, without the tears coming out of my…’. She pauses, distracted. ‘Who is that gorgeous creature behind you? He’s so cute!’

“I hope we are on a path to healing but you cannot heal without accountability, you cannot heal without truth”

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“My brand is the celebration of black beauty and that is inherently political in a world of white supremacy”

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Diana Ross with daughters Chudney, Tracee and Rhonda in 1976

“ i would like to think I’m a poster child for cultivating a life of freedom and joy. That is actually on my terms. That is my choice’”

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Rhonda, Diana, Tracee and Berry Gordy (Rhonda’s father) with Diana’s sons Ross Arne Naess and Evan Naess at the Soul Train Music Awards in 1995